Thanks to sequestration, the military has cut its budget by cutting education programs for active duty personnel. These programs could be used in military personnel’s free time to pursue college, vocational training, or even high school equivalency. Now, these programs are gone in the Marine Corps and army with the air force looking to follow suit. This is a cut that can only hurt us as a nation. This needs to be undone.
Many people who cannot otherwise afford an education join the military in order to get one. If it is available to them while they are in the service, they can take advantage of this program while remaining active duty. If they can’t, they will quit and take advantage of the Montgomery GI Bill. This means that more people will quit after 4 years of service, and we will have fewer people qualified to lead. It means we have fewer combat veterans in each unit when they go into combat. Overall, it means less military readiness.
In addition, one of the benefits of military life is the ability to advance, and increase your pay grade. In order to go from enlisted to officer pay grades, you need a college degree. This means that the options to improve life are dramatically cut if we no longer provide means to get that education to our soldiers. This, again, will lead to more people leaving, and more people needing to be recruited. It will also lead to more difficulty in recruiting people if one of the major perks to service has been removed.
Finally, we are asking our soldiers to take the brunt of the punishment for our government’s inability to behave like adults and cooperate. We spend more on our military than the next 14 countries combined. Certainly we can find places to make cuts that do not ask the poor, and lower middle class soldiers to shoulder the majority of the consequences. We need to prioritize the well being of our men and women in uniform over developing new ways to destroy entire countries. If we made intelligent cuts to the military budget rather than slashing away at programs that actually help people, we would be much closer to a sustainable budget.